02/01/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today. I'm Tim Willcox.


A major blow for Iraq's security forces as militants linked to


al-Qaeda take control of parts of two major cities. Iraqi special


forces are battling militants in Fallujah and Ramadi who've seized


police stations, freed prisoners and set up checkpoints.


The first of the helicopters to take us home! Rescued at last after a


Christmas on ice. 52 people are airlifted from their ship, which has


been stuck in the Antarctic for a week.


Also coming up: Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson speaks out about the


fraud trial of her assistants, in which she was accused of regularly


using cocaine. To have not only your private life


but distortions of it put on display is mortifying.


And forget about the Great Wall. China now boasts an engineering feat


fit for the 21st century. We go for a ride.


Hello and welcome. Iraqi special forces have launched a major


operation to try and reclaim two cities which have come under the


control of militants linked to al-Qaeda. The Islamic State of Iraq


and the Levant - SIL - have reportedly captured several police


stations in Fallujah and Ramadi, both in Anbar province, taken


weapons, freed prisoners and set up checkpoints. It comes as the United


Nations claimed 2013 was the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008,


with more than 7,800 civilians and 1,000 members of the security forces


killed in violence there. Rafid Jaboori reports.


It is the first time since the withdrawal of the US forces that the


Iraqi government has lost control of two major cities. Significant parts


of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province have fallen to the militant


fighters of Al-Qaeda, but the government is fighting to reading


them. Tension has been high since last week in the heartland of


Iraq's Sunni majority -- minority. On Monday, protest camp in Ramadi


was dismantled. The Sonys have been protesting against the Shia


government for months. But the government has now secured


significant backing from Sunni tribal leaders. Last year was the


most violent year in Iraq since 2008, with thousands killed and


injured, mainly in attacks on Shia areas and security forces by


Al-Qaeda. With the support of tribal leaders, the government might be


able to regain control of Anbar, but the long-running problems in the


Sunni areas will need more comprehensive political deals.


In another sign of instability in the country, a suicide bomber has


killed at least 12 people and injured more than 75 at a market 70


kilometres north-east of Baghdad. Brad Blakeman is Professor of


Politics and International Affairs at Georgetown University in


Washington. He was also a member of President George W Bush's senior


staff from 2001 to 2004. Thank you for joining us on the programme.


America has sent 75 missiles and is talking about sending some Eagle


surveillance drones as well. Should it be doing more, given what is


happening in Iraq? Well, President Obama has made it clear that he is


not going to do more, and it is up to the international community now


to step up. We will help the best we can, but it is up to the Iraqis now


to stand up for themselves, and if they can't do it after all the


opportunity that the United States and Britain and other countries have


given to them, then they need to meet their own fate. So specifically


with the United States, do you agree with President Obama's stance? The


missiles and drones are some things, but what about more help in terms of


surveillance and into full -- infiltration. We should make sure


that the allies do not get a foothold in Iraq that they seem to


be getting in some of these areas in Fallujah and Ramadi. So it is in our


allies' interest to make sure that this doesn't happen and help them to


be self-sufficient enough to get the job done so that our allies will not


have to go in and augment that with troops or other support. What about


the sectarian split? Do think international pressure should be put


on them to make the Sunnis more represented within Iraq? There are


internal and external factors, a lack of representation in Iraq, and


externally, the war in Syria. And that is where the UN could be of


great value, to bring reconciliation to factions that have broken off. It


is incumbent on the UN under its charter to do that, which they are


charged to do, which is to go in and bring the parties together, and get


the current government to acknowledge that things must change


in Iraq, there must be not only an acknowledgement, but policies must


change in order for them to bring stability and peace within their own


borders. What about the role of Iran and Saudi Arabia here as well. What


sort of international leveraged can be put on them, especially given the


apparent rapprochement between the United States and Iran? There is no


question about it that outside forces are instigating a lot of the


violence within Iraq, and that has got to stop. We have to secure as


best we can and help them with their borders, and bring pressure up on


outside nations who are causing a lot of the mischief within Iraq, and


unfortunately, we have taken our foot off the sanctions, which are


starting to be of great significance in Iran. And I think our president


has been making a great misstep in taking his foot off some of the


sanctions, because it is not in the interests of the region, and it may


not even be in our interests that it was done. This has led to the deaths


of more than 8000 civilians. I wonder if there is any moral


necessity for America to take part in this, and how optimistic are you


that this will ever be resolved? We have had the threat of civil war so


many times before. Well, let's take a look in America's history. When we


declared independence, it took was 11 years to get our act ever, and


within 100 years of our independence, we had a civil war,


600,000 Americans dead, brother against brother. You cannot will


civility, it has to be earned. But only if it is going to mean


something and it will be the lubricant well thought out, and just


to do something to say that we did something is not enough. We have to


have results if we are going to do anything. Thank you very much indeed


for joining us on the programme. Sectarian violence has also flared


up again in Lebanon. Tensions heightened between Sunnis and Shias


because of the war in neighbouring Syria. In the last few hours, at


least six people have been killed in a car bomb attack in a southern


suburb of Beirut, a stronghold of the Shia militant group Hezbollah.


It comes just days after a Sunni and a critic of Hezbollah was killed by


a car bomb. Our correspondent Corine Torbey is at the scene and we'll get


the latest from her in just a few minutes.


Now to the crisis in South Sudan, where fierce fighting continues even


as efforts to end the violence get under way. Delegations from the


warring factions led by President Salva Kiir and his former deputy


Riek Machar are meeting for peace talks in the Ethiopian capital,


Addis Ababa. Aid agencies say many civilians inside South Sudan are in


desperate need of help and shelter. They estimate up to 75,000 people


have gathered on the banks of the Nile looking for help, after


crossing by boat from the town of Bor. Our correspondent Alastair


Leithead is at the camp. We don't know exactly how many


people have made the trip across the Nile river that is just behind me


here, but it is more than 75,000 people. That is like a sports


stadium full of people suddenly arriving here, and this is where


they are ending up. They are coming here and just sitting under the


trees. This is the only shelter they have got. And this goes all the way


down this bank of the Nile, all the way in for a couple of miles into


that area, huge numbers of people. And they have nothing. They grabbed


what they could, came here without much food. And the water isn't


clean. These guys here with these buckets on their head, that is water


collected from the Nile, dirty, bad water. On this side, we have a


clinic that has been set up by Medecins Sans Frontieres, two small


clinics with a handful of staff, and they have been trying to deal with


increasing numbers of people coming in with really bad diarrhoea, among


the many children, and we have heard of babies who have died of diarrhoea


because there are no facilities here. In the background here, you


can make out the first signs of aid coming in. This is truck loads of


food, the committee internationally of the Red Cross have come in and


brought food and supplies, and they are trying to do this in an


organised way. You can see the queues of people waiting, organised


by which area they are from to try to make sure that this is given out


fairly to those people who need it most, but more needs to come. It is


a five-hour drive of a bad roads to reach this area, and the UN is


already aware of the situation. It is a humanitarian crisis. The


fighting is continuing across the river. There are people over there


who can no longer come over on boats because it is too dangerous for


them. Even to get here where there is nothing is better than being in a


town held by the anti-government forces, and there is a serious risk


of more intense fighting breaking out in the days ahead.


He's been in a coma and vegetative state since 2006, but doctors in


Israel say the condition of former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon has


worsened in the past 48 hours. Doctors say his organs are failing


and his life is in danger. From Jerusalem, Kevin Connolly reports.


At the medical centre near Tel Aviv, Israel waits anxiously for a medical


bulletin on the health of the former Prime Minister, who has been in a


coma for eight years. When the news comes, it is not good.


TRANSLATION: Mr Ariel Sharon shows some signs of deterioration in the


following two days, with some critical miss function, malfunction


of some of his organs, including his kidneys. He is under treatment, but


we feel that the situation is critical, and some danger is


expected for his life. Ariel Sharon's life may be slipping


away now, but in his heyday, they called him the bulldozer. The


forceful soldier and politician saw himself as an uncompromising


defender of his country's interests, in war and in peace. We remember his


contributions, sacrifices he made to ensure the survival and the


well-being of Israel, and I have many personal thoughts about my


meetings with him, on many different occasions. Always robust and strong


and clear about his position. His name may be for ever associated


with the massacre inside Palestinian refugee camps, carried out by


Christian militia in Lebanon during Israel's invasion of 1982, but Ariel


Sharon's life story was bound up with a history of his country from


the moment of its birth. He fought in the war of independence in 1948.


Israel's enemies hated Ariel Sharon, but people will remember him


as someone whose career dated back to the very foundation of their


state. Now they wait with concern as his fate again hangs in the balance.


Much attention is also focused on the hospital in France, where former


seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is still


being treated for head injuries following a skiing accident on


Sunday. He's been in a critical condition after falling and hitting


his head on a rock. He received a visit on Thursday from the head of


the FIA, Jean Todt, who was also his boss during his time at Ferrari.


It's Schumacher's 45th birthday on Friday.


Let's get more now from Lebanon, where a bomb has exploded in a


southern suburb of Beirut, killing at least six people. It was very


close to the Central office of Hezbollah. We can go to the scene


now and speak to the BBC's Corine Torbey. This is likely to stoke


sectarian tensions there even more, isn't it? Yes, a lot of tension,


especially as this is not the first attack in this area, but also within


Lebanon an last Friday, a former finance minister was also


assassinated, and the security situation is believed to be


deteriorating by the day in this country. In terms of the group


behind it, this is seen as tit-for-tat, is it? As the sectarian


nature of the Civil War in serious bills over the border? Well, there


is a wide belief that what is happening in Lebanon is very much


linked to the situation in Syria. What happened today, many people


think that it is a deterioration for Hezbollah's role in Syria, and its


involvement in some of the troops in the Shia party alongside government


forces in Syria. Lebanon has also its own problems, and it is a very


congregated situation, and it is very hard to understand what is


happening. -- a complicated situation. People are trying to make


sense of all of this violence that is taking hold of the country. Not


helped by the fact that Lebanon has been paralysed politically. This is


a very divided country, not only along political lines, but on


sectarian lines. Lebanon has been without Government for around nine


months. Political parties are unable to come together. There are real


fears that amid all of this in security, and made all of this


division, the situation might go further and further. Thank you.


Let's bring you some breaking news. About the killing of a Briton and a


New Zealander, both gunshot wounds, in western Libya, that is according


to a security source on writers news agency. The body was found on the


coastal area. It is about 100 kilometres west of Tripoli. At ACAS


Park complex. -- at ACAS complex. Police in South Africa have begun a


murder investigation into the death of a leading role and an opposition


figure Patrick Karegeya whose body was found in a hotel room. They said


that he may have been strangled. The former intelligence chief Fred


Rwanda after he was accused of plotting against his former ally


President Paul Kagame -- President Paul Kagame.


In the upmarket district, Patrick Karegeya came to this hotel on


Wednesday to meet a man from Rwanda whom he said to have trusted.


Yesterday, he was found dead in one of the hotel rooms. The police have


launched a murder inquiry. When the police were called, police were


given the possibility that he might have been strangled and a bloody


Tower was found on the scene. Patrick Karegeya fought against Paul


Kagame with the random picture that front. After the 1994 genocide, he


was Rwanda's external intelligence chief. He fell out with...


In 2007, he went into axe out in South Africa, where he was granted


political asylum. Together with a former army chief he formed a new


opposition party, The Rwanda And National Congress. Undoubtedly an


assassination. Patrick Karegeya did not have any problems with people in


South Africa. He didn't have any differences within the organisation.


We also know... This week's Kelling has thrown the spotlight on the


Rwanda and axe Isles who had in the past been warned of attacks on them.


The government continues to deny trying to kill its political


opponents. All 52 passengers on board a Russian


ship that has been stuck in the Antarctic have finally been rescued.


The research vessel became trapped in the ice on Christmas eve during a


fierce storm. Ice breakers made attempts to reach the strip ship,


but were awarded. Helicopters were used to carry passengers to a rescue


ship. Look at that. What a handsome craft


that is. It was the site that everyone had


been waiting for, the first rescue helicopter descending onto the same


eyes that had kept me and all on board the ship, the Akademik


Shokalskiy, stranded for over a week.


Previous attempts to bring about the rescue of the scientists and


tourists on board had been aborted due to poor weather. Finally, the


skies were clear. The first of their helicopters to take us home


passengers were taken to an Australian icebreaker. The rescue


operation lasted several hours. I was one of those who made this


journey. You were watching the last group of people that you have been


ferried from the Russian vessel through about a 15 minute wait


knuckle ride helicopter ride to just outside the Australian icebreaker.


Scientists on board the Akademik Shokalskiy had been recreating the


journey of Douglas Mawson and his 1911 voyage to Antarctica. On


Christmas Eve, thick flows of ice judge and by strong winds had left


the vessel unable to move further. Singing auld lang syne, expedition


members celebrated New Year by working towards their own rescue.


We're getting the team to stamp down on this snow and ice so the Chinese


helicopter can reach us. Finally, the rescue could go ahead.


The Aurora Australis is now breaking through the ice. The eventual


destination, the Australian state of Tasmania.


For the crew of the Akademik Shokalskiy, the weight remains. They


will have to hold out until the ice surrounding the ship breaks out.


That could be many more weeks. Pakistan's former president has been


taken to hospital with heart problems. He was due to appear in


court with treason charges when he reportedly fell ill. A spokesman


said he is conscious and is being examined by military doctors.


Japan's Coast Guard has rescued a Chinese man who tried to reach a


bunch of disputed islands by hot air Berlin. The islands are known by


Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China and are administered by Tokyo.


Nigella Lawson has said it was mortifying to have details of her


personal life and drug-taking revealed in court. Speaking in her


first interview since her assistants were cleared of


defrauding her and her former husband Charles Saatchi of hundreds


of thousands of dollars, she told a US TV station that her only desire


in the court case was to protect her children.


We know you have had quite a year. The reason Nigella Lawson was on


this show was to talk about her cookery programme. One topic could


not be avoided. Her recent experience on the witness stand at


the trial of her two assistants To have not only your private life, but


distortions of it, is mortifying. There are people going through an


awful lot worse and to dwell on it or on any of it would be self-pity


and I don't like to do that. In that court appearance, she had been


accused of being a regular user of cocaine. She denies this. The


intense interest in her life had begun before the trial. These photos


of her and her now former husband Charles Saatchi appeared. Over the


months, her private life has become very public. That appearance in


court was bruising. She said, her reputation had been maliciously


vilified. Today, she reappeared more


reflective than angry, but still wounded by the experience. You are


Mack were only desire really was to protect my children. I can always do


that, but that is what I wanted to do. -- could not. Since then, I have


details of chocolate and had a good Christmas and iron into the New


Year. Time to move on. -- I am. Our feelings about the way she had been


treated in court were clear. -- her feelings.


The city of Shanghai claims to have set a new milestone, two new Metro


lines which opened this week will take its total length to more than


500 kilometres. The city has been laying new track at a pace faster


than anywhere else in history. But it is not the only Chinese city in


the grip of a tabloid frenzy. -- tunnelling.


It is hard to believe that the Shanghai Metro system is barely 20


years old. The pace of expansion has been


breathtaking. It is now the world's longest subway


network. With the opening of lines 12 and 16 this week, the first to


stretch over 500 kilometres. TRANSLATION: I used to take the bus.


That took ages. This is great. It saves me 30 minutes on my normal


journey. I am really happy. As of this week, Shanghai has 567


kilometres of operational track, leaving London languishing with 400


and New York even further behind with just 330: Matters. In the game


of my Metro is bigger than yours, China looks likely to remain the


champion. The Beijing Metro is now the world's second longest. 16


cities already have subway systems and at least 18 more have begun


construction. If nothing else, it is a sign that there is little letup in


big government spending, despite the talk of having to rebalance the


economy. This week, Shanghai announced a ban on passengers eating


on board, but the appetite for growth is undiminished. In the next


few years, another 230 kilometres will be added, more than the total


length of the Paris Metro. It goes on and on. But is it from


us. The weather is coming up. Goodbye.


After a brief lull, things are going downhill again very quickly with


more wind and rain over the next few days and we can expect more of the


same with an ongoing likelihood of flooding. This is the situation


right now. This set


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